South Korean companies stage mock funerals

Photo: Steve Evans / BBC News
Photo: Steve Evans / BBC News

South Korean companies are using the bizarre ritual of staging mock funerals in order to increase the happiness of their staff.

With the highest suicide rate in the developed world, South Koreans are being forced to reflect on the meaning of life – and one way which they are doing that is through sessions which mimic a funeral.

The process involves a group of employees writing farewell letters to loved ones before lying down in wooden coffins and hugging a picture of themselves, draped in black ribbon.

A man representing the angel of death – dressed in black with a tall hat – closes each coffin leaving those inside to reflect on how they have spent their time on earth.

The unusual exercise reportedly leaves employees able to appreciate the good in their life and keen to spend more time with family and friends.

Photo: Steve Evans / BBC News
Photo: Steve Evans / BBC News


Park Chun-woong’s recruitment company is one of several that has been staging staff funerals at an organisation called the Hyowon Centre.

“Our company has always encouraged employees to change their old ways of thinking, but it was hard to bring about any real difference,” he told the BBC.

“I thought going inside a coffin would be such a shocking experience, it would completely reset their minds for a completely fresh start in their attitudes.”

Companies have also introduced practices such as communal laughing sessions.



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